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 20170110《靜思妙蓮華》因行圓滿萬德純淨 (第998集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170110《靜思妙蓮華》因行圓滿萬德純淨 (第998集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周一 1月 09, 2017 11:34 pm

20170110《靜思妙蓮華》因行圓滿萬德純淨 (第998集)
(法華經•
化城喻品

 
因六度行之德,悲智具足,因行圓滿悲智;果圓行滿,萬德純淨,見者無不獲大吉祥。
我等得善利,稱慶大歡喜。眾生常苦惱,盲瞑無導師,不識苦盡道,不知求解脫,長夜增惡趣,減損諸天眾。《法華經化城喻品第七
從冥入於冥,永不聞佛名。今佛得最上,安隱無漏道,我等及天人,為得最大利,是故咸稽首,歸命無上尊。《法華經化城喻品第七
從冥入於冥,永不聞佛名:從冥昧心,造冥昧業,受冥昧苦,從迷冥入於迷冥,永不獲聞佛之名。
將遇佛而未及見佛,已遇佛而不欲聞法,既見佛而不識佛。如六師之徒黨,此等迷人乃盲瞑之習所使然。
不忍眾生造諸惑業而受生死逼迫之苦,沉溺惡道。即為種種開示,除不善法,置之善處,令彼獲得安隱快樂,寂靜妙常。世事永息者即安隱無漏道。
我等及天人,為得最大利:我等諸人及餘一切天人之眾,是得最上廣大利益。
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「因六度行之德,悲智具足,因行圓滿悲智;果圓行滿,萬德純淨,見者無不獲大吉祥。」
 
因六度行之德
悲智具足
因行圓滿悲智
果圓行滿
萬德純淨
見者無不獲大吉祥
 
修行,自修覺他,這是我們修行者,也是佛所教育,人人應該要信受奉行。六度行,不論是出家、在家,人人都能通行,在家有在家行六度行的方便,出家有出家行六度、修六度之德的本分,這是佛陀所教育。我們若能悲智雙運,悲,就是不忍眾生受苦難,我們很自然發出內心,無私的大愛,發揮這分愛,身體力行去付出,這就是悲。
 
平時佛教中,佛教徒常常說「大慈大悲」,是,大慈,什麼叫做大慈呢?「無緣大慈」,與我們毫無關係的人,我們都期待天下眾生,人人享福、受福,這就是大慈。就如父母盼望孩子會成功,事事成功,事事無憂,這就是父母的心。菩薩對眾生也是一樣,期待眾生人人隨心順意,幸福平安,這叫做大慈。雖然這些眾生,不是我們的什麼人,毫無關係,卻是我們看他幸福,我們歡喜為他們祝福,這個心情就叫做無緣大慈。創造幸福給眾生的生活,這也都叫做無緣大慈。
 
「同體大悲」,雖然芸芸眾生與我們無故,沒有什麼樣的緣故,但是眾生有苦難,我們不忍心,「人傷我痛,人苦我悲」,這叫做同體大悲。眾生就如一對父母的一個孩子,我們前面《法華經》,己經火宅譬喻、貧窮子的譬喻等等,無不都是以父子的感情,來譬喻佛與眾生的關係,所以我們學佛,就是要學佛陀的心,同樣視天下眾生與我們同一家,如一家人,也像我們的親人,這就是我們要學佛這念心。
 
所以「因六度行之德」,我們必定要「悲智具足」。我們要好好學,學會了如何來同體大悲,將眾生當作是,我們至親所愛的人,不忍心他們苦難,所以要運用我們的智慧,眾生有苦,我們應該要設法,運用智慧去幫助他,這叫做慈,無緣大慈。創造幸福給眾生,免除眾生種種的苦難,這必定要悲智具足,悲智雙運,用這樣的方式來修行。
 
「因行圓滿」,圓滿什麼呢?還是一樣,悲智無缺,所以叫做圓滿。幾天來一直在說「大圓鏡智」。儘管我們修行,什麼道理都懂了,就是欠缺這分心,包容天下眾生的心。與眾生同體大悲,如何能為天下眾生來設想,這才叫做悲智,這種修行,才叫做圓滿。長久的時間修行,因行圓滿,「因」就是要付出,「行」救濟眾生的因,這個種子,生生世世這樣力行,叫做「因行」。從我們發心立願開始,一直一直這樣過來,所修的行在人群中,來完成了悲智。這就是
 
常常跟大家說,悲,就是要入人群去,為眾生付出;智,就是在人群中,去體會眾生的煩惱、無明,如何生起。「煩惱即菩提」,這些煩惱如何把它成為菩提?去體會煩惱的因的來源,才能夠教導眾生轉煩惱成菩提,這就是「因行圓滿悲智」,我們必定要用心。
 
是不是我們過去,已經有聽聞佛法?應該是有;有這個種子因緣,肯定我們今生此世,我們有這個因緣來聽法。這也是我們累世中的其中一世,我們還有來生來世,還是要這一生的因、行,要再延續下去,一直到未來生世,到了因行圓滿,我們的悲智完成。這就是我們要好好把握。
 
「果圓行滿,萬德純淨,見者無不獲大吉祥」。修行就是要這樣,乘過去的因,延續在今生此世,今生此世把握因緣,延續在人群造福,在人群中增長慧命,這樣再延續來生來世,無量生世,一直到果圓行滿,一直到萬德純淨。
 
我們一方面造福,一方面在五趣雜居地,如何練就了去除無明、煩惱,堅持我們的道行。我們這個道是菩提道,正確的方向,我們要步步向前,這樣「純淨」,很單純、很清淨,修煩惱、去無明。我們因為煩惱多,我們才要修。在人群中去造福業,在人群中充滿了濁氣,我們在濁氣中去體會,增長慧命,借這個因緣,成就我們心靈的道場。所以,去除煩惱,在人群中修行,能夠到達純而淨,能夠見者歡喜。
 
我們的德,已經生生世世一直累積,無明生生世世消除,那就是「萬德純淨」,自然人見了,自然起歡喜心,在歡喜心,滿心的煩惱就是放下了。從我們的修行中,讓人看了能起歡喜,放下無明,無不都是吉祥,這必定要好好修。
 
就如過去《賢愚經》裡,也有這樣的一段故事經文。也就是說,有一位輔相,就是官做得很大,家庭很富有,但是他有欠缺,就是膝下無嗣,沒有孩子。聽人家說,去恆河邊求天神,絕對能得子。他這樣聽,他就用了很豐盛的祭祀,來到恆河邊,引導很多人來幫助他,用虔誠的心來敬天,求子嗣。
 
就是這樣說:「我若能得子,我會造金像,用七寶來莊嚴您的寺院,造您的像。若是我這輩子得不到子,可能我會用強烈的手段,用糞穢,最糞穢的東西,來污穢您的寺院,來污穢您的金身。所以我在這裡說得到,做得到。」
 
河神聽了,心生恐懼,一國大臣說得到、做得到,到底要如何能賜子給他呢?趕緊稟報天神,天神就說:「他若是沒子嗣,我也沒辦法啊!」「那怎麼辦?」再向上呈報,向上,天王覺得:「我也無能為力啊!」後來就向帝釋呈報,這天界的天神,帝釋。
 
正好有一位天人,忽然間五衰相現,心生恐懼。帝釋就說:「你既然天福已盡了,是不是你能到輔相的家庭投生?」這位天人認為:「我不要!我是不是能夠,讓我生在平凡人的家庭,因為我就是想要出家。天人雖然壽長、享受多,但是總有一天,如我現在五衰相現,同樣要再墮落在六道中。我想,我希望出家,了脫生死,不再希望天福,更畏懼六道三途,我很怕。是不是能讓我在平常的家庭出生,讓我能自由出家去呢?」
 
這天帝就說:「現在輔相需要求子,求子心切,你為了成就他的願,你在這個家庭出生,你要出家的願望,我會幫助你,幫助你能出家。」就這樣相約,真的這位天人,投生在輔相的家庭。得子了,歡喜了,請相師來為他看相、取名。這相師覺得這個孩子很有福相,非是平凡人,問他:「到底如何得子?」他就說:「我是在恆河邊,向著天神求子。」所以這位相師將這個孩子,取名叫做「恆伽達」。在恆河邊所求來的,達到你的心願,所以叫做「恆伽達」。
 
日子在過很快,將近二十歲的青少年了,這時候的心,求道心切,覺得想要出家。「佛陀在這個國家講法,我很好樂佛法,我很傾向是出家的心願。」向父母要求,再怎麼求,都求不到他的心願,父母不捨,希望他能夠承傳家業。但是他求出家心切,離開家庭。他心想,這輩子沒有得到父母的祝福,沒有機會出家,不如我結束這一生的生命,我能夠生在平凡人家,要修行才有機會。就這樣,上高山,往下跳下來,但是,跳下來正好在樹叢,很茂盛的樹叢,跳到那個地方,所以毫髮無傷。
 
「既然這麼高的山跳下來,不會傷到身體,不然我去跳水。」到河邊跳水,偏偏水中沉下去又浮起來,還是沒死。怎麼辦?想,想一個辦法,「去冒犯國王,希望他處罰我死刑。」知道國王的嬪妃在沐浴的池園,在御園地方的浴池裡,一群宮女陪著嬪妃,嬪妃群,在那裡沐浴時,他侵入園中,將人家脫下來的衣服抱著,就故意在那個地方被人看到。守衛者稟報阿闍世王,阿闍世王看到了,一時的憤怒,要人開弓箭射他,竟然弓箭去了,忽然間又回頭回來,支支弓箭出去,每一支弓箭都回頭。
 
阿闍世王嚇到了,趕緊將這個人,年輕人,叫回來,「到底你是什麼人物?是龍神或者是鬼怪?」就說:「國王,您聽我說,若要瞭解我的身分,您就要滿我的心願,您若能滿我的心願,我就告訴您我的身分。」阿闍世王就說:「可以,只要你告訴我,你的身分是什麼人。」他就說:「我是輔相的兒子,我要求出家,但是我的父親不肯。所以,沒有父親的允許,我無法出家,所以我想要死,想要投胎,來生世能出家。國王,就是這麼簡單的事情。」
 
這國王聽了,覺得,「出家,是這麼容易。好,我成就你。」因為阿闍世王已經現在信佛了,也皈依佛了,所以,成就人出家是一大功德,他就將這位年輕人,送到佛陀的面前。佛陀歡喜,讓他出家,比丘相現,佛陀為他說法,心開意解,恆伽達成為比丘了。阿闍世王看了,恆伽達現出了比丘相,聽佛說法,心開意解,一定是有他的大因緣。
 
「是啊!有他的大因緣。」佛陀就又說了一段因緣。這段因緣,就是一位年輕人聽到王宮,宮女在獻舞、唱歌,這位年輕人不由自己,在外面聽到這個歌聲,他也大聲和著音律,同樣也在那裡大聲唱出來。那個聲音之美妙,國王聽了起怒心,要人去把他抓起來,要把他處死。
 
外面,一位大臣正好走進來時,看到這位年輕人被人抓住了,他就問那裡的侍衛:「這位年輕人到底犯了什麼法?」「就是在這裡大聲唱歌,國王不高興,要將他處死。」這位大臣認為說:「這不至死處死的罪。你暫且等一下。」大臣向國王說:「這個人不至致死的階段,國王應該在這歡喜作樂時,不要做這種發怒的心,來損傷生命?年輕人,放他去吧!」
 
國王聽大臣的勸,就放他去了。這位年輕人知道大臣救他的命,為了要報他的恩,要求大臣:「我願意在您身邊為您的奴僕。」這樣經過幾年盡心來伺候,這位大臣,幾年後就問他:「我只是出個聲音替你求情,你這麼多年忠心耿耿地伺候我,你難道沒有什麼要求嗎?」他就說:「我假使有要求,我已看盡了人間,人生就是因為聲與色,會喪失了生命。我就是這樣的過程,差一點生命,就死在我聽到這個音樂,起了聲色的歡喜,這樣不由自己唱歌作樂,這樣差一點送命了。所以是大臣救我,我才這樣來回報您。您問我有什麼心願沒有,我想要修行。」大臣(說):「好,滿你的願,讓你去修行吧!」
 
他就很認真,到了山林去,去修行,專心修行。經過了一二十年過後,真的心意開解,成就了辟支佛的果位,對天地宇宙、人生無常道理透徹。這個道理,他很想要回歸,回來與大臣分享。大臣看到他的成就也很歡喜,趕緊供養。在這供養之後,辟支佛現神通,離地在空中。這位大臣想,修行,有這樣逍遙自在!確實人生無常,雖然我身為一國的大臣,有權有名,我現在也年老了,人生難免生、老、病、死,也是很苦。萬一沉溺在聲色中,我的來生來世又是變成什麼呢?好,我也願意修行去。
 
這位大臣,他就發一個願:「我將來修行,我希望發來生來世能見佛,出家能得佛的真理,斷除生死,成就大涅槃。」這是他的心願。
 
佛陀將這個故事說到這裡,向阿闍世王說:「你知道嗎?現在恆伽達就是那位大臣。他救了一個人的命,同時成就他出家,他又發大願,將來能在佛世修行出家,他能斷生死。一直發願成佛,那就是這位,現前這位恆伽達。」
 
這個故事就是這樣。所以我們要知道,六度萬行,雖然是很長久的時間,累生累世,有願我們就要身體力行修,自然總有一天也能滿願,得大吉祥。這就是學佛要有大信心。
 
所以我們前面經文說,「我等得善利,稱慶大歡喜。眾生常苦惱,盲瞑無導師,不識苦盡道,不知求解脫,長夜增惡趣,減損諸天眾。」
 
我等得善利
稱慶大歡喜
眾生常苦惱
盲瞑無導師
不識苦盡道
不知求解脫
長夜增惡趣
減損諸天眾
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
天,天人也有五衰相現的人,所以天帝成就這位天人,再來人間了。真的,人間盲瞑,很多的苦惱,假使沒有很透徹瞭解,生生世世就是在「盲瞑無導師,不識苦盡道」,這樣一直一直不知求解脫,都是在長夜中增惡趣,墮落地獄,要再來生人間都不容易,何況再生天上,更不簡單啊!所以,人間要求得解脫,真的是很困難。
 
下面經文這樣說,「從冥入於冥,永不聞佛名。今佛得最上,安隱無漏道,我等及天人,為得最大利,是故咸稽首,歸命無上尊。」
 
從冥入於冥
永不聞佛名
今佛得最上
安隱無漏道
我等及天人
為得最大利
是故咸稽首
歸命無上尊
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
眾生,在長久的時間,若沒有導師、沒有法來牽引,我們一直都在無明中、黑暗中,再入更黑暗的地方,就是我們眾生,不斷造作無明煩惱,愈複製愈多,所以叫做「從冥入於冥」。這樣離佛愈遠了,「永不聞佛名」。現在看到佛已經得最上,「今佛得最上,安隱無漏道」,已經看到佛已經成就了,所有萬德圓融,成等正覺。所以「我等及天人」,是大通智勝佛坐十小劫,天人護法,這些天人已經看到了,佛已經成就了,「為得最大利」。天與人,有佛出世、有法可聽,這就是最大的利益,所以大家很歡喜。「稽首」,佛陀已經成就了,天人應該要稽首禮拜來恭賀、祝福,祝賀佛已經圓滿覺悟。
 
所以說(若)「從冥入於冥,永不聞佛名」。就是從黑暗昧了我們心的良知,就是造很多的無明,我們的良知也已經暗了,所以「造冥昧業」。去製造很多的煩惱,去製造很多的惡業,昧了良知,失了良知,所以就造很多惡業。
 
所以說「從迷冥入於迷冥」,就是在迷茫、迷茫,暗的地方,又再入更迷茫、更黑暗的地方。這就是我們眾生,一生比一世更無明。因為我們都一直帶業,不斷一直複製下去,所以從「迷冥入於迷冥」,又更迷了,所以「永不獲聞佛之名」,不聞佛的名字。
 
從冥入於冥
永不聞佛名:
從冥昧心
造冥昧業
受冥昧苦
從迷冥入於迷冥
永不獲聞佛之名
 
所以說「從冥入於冥」,我們凡夫就是這樣,「捨生受生,不離惡趣」,所以叫做「從冥入於冥」。捨這一世,再來生來世,都沒有離開這種五趣雜居,真正無明的人間。
 
 
「將遇佛而未(及)見佛」。雖然現在大家都知道佛教,「我拿香拜拜,求,求我的功名,求我的……等等。」這就是遇佛只懂得拿香拜拜,只懂得要求,真正的,他沒有那個心瞭解佛是什麼,為什麼會有佛在人間?他以為佛只是在保佑人而已,不知佛是大覺者、是開道者、是說道者,他都不知,只知道要求。
 
「已遇佛而不欲聞法」。雖然見到佛了,但是他就不歡喜要聽法。佛陀是為一大事因緣,要來開示眾生,你看到佛,不想要接受佛的開示,不想要聽法,見到佛和沒見到佛不是一樣嗎?
 
「既見(佛)而不識佛」。雖然見到佛,但是也不認識佛。像這樣種種因緣錯過,這都是迷。就如佛陀的時代,很多外道教,六師,這些都是在迷於人,不只迷於法,還迷於人,將人引導至盲瞑的修行方法,這也是很辛苦。
 
將遇佛而未及見佛
已遇佛而不欲聞法
既見佛而不識佛
如六師之徒黨
此等迷人
乃盲瞑之習
所使然
 
「今佛得最上,安隱無漏道」。天人看到佛成佛了,已經這世間能夠安穩下來了,天與人能夠得到佛所說法。所以「今佛世尊得成,無上安隱寂滅無漏聖道」,自然地,就是因為,不忍眾生造諸惑業。佛所以會成佛,就是不忍眾生這樣造作惡業,心中充滿無明,這個惑,所以這是佛,他成佛就是要度眾生。知道眾生去造作惑,惑就是無明,造作無明的業,所受的是生死逼迫之苦,沉淪在惡道裡,這是眾生造業的結果。因為這樣,修行成佛,覺悟法要入人群。所以「為種種開示,除不善法」。
 
不忍眾生造諸惑業
而受生死逼迫之苦
沉溺惡道
即為種種開示
除不善法
置之善處
令彼獲得安隱快樂
寂靜妙常
世事永息者
即安隱無漏道
 
讓大家瞭解清楚,法就軌道,不可造惡,「諸惡莫作,眾善奉行」,讓這些眾生有反省的機會,讓這些眾生能回頭是岸,讓這些眾生有一個法可走,有一條路可找。這是佛成道,「令彼獲得安隱快樂,寂靜妙常」。向眾生說,人人皆有佛性,人人都有一個安穩快樂的地方,教人們如何來修行。所以世事,紛紛擾擾的世事,世間的無明能完全熄滅,能人人所得到的,就是互愛、互相尊重。這就是大慈的心,希望人人能過著平安無災難的生活,這就是佛的目標。
 
我等及天人
為得最大利:
我等諸人
及餘一切天人之眾
是得最上廣大利益
 
再說「我等及天人,為得最大利」。我們大家是最高興了,能夠佛成佛,圓滿覺悟,這是天與人最歡喜的事。所以「我等諸人,及餘一切天人之眾,是得最上廣大利益」,這就是一佛出世,天、人大利益,能夠走這條光明的大道。
 
所以「是故咸稽首,歸命無上尊」。因為這樣,所以大家很歡喜,天與人都很歡喜,用最虔誠的心來恭敬禮拜。「稽首」就是五體投地。「歸命」就是皈依。身心奉獻來皈依無上的世尊,世所尊重的大覺世尊。這是大通智勝佛成佛,天、人全都皆大歡喜。
 
大家要知道,一尊佛要成就,不是容易的事,必定「因六度行」,不斷修行,生生世世要悲智雙運,要一直到圓滿無缺,大圓鏡智現前,這樣的程度,心很單純,清淨無染穢。這就是我們修行,我們到底如何,能讓我們的心清淨無染穢呢?那就要看我們日常生活中,待人接物,法用在生活中,如何能影響人人,同時同享法樂;在生活中,大家生活得很快樂,做事情都是,這也是真理、這也是法,這樣享受在工作中,沐浴在法流中,這樣就是最快樂。希望人人時時要多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Perfecting Our Practice with All Pure Virtues (因行圓滿萬德純淨)
Date: January.10. 2016
 
“With the virtue of actualizing the Six Paramitas as the cause, we will be replete with compassion and wisdom. Having perfected our causal practice of compassion and wisdom, our fruition is perfect, our practice fulfilled, and we will have all pure virtues. All those who behold us will attain great auspiciousness.”
 
In spiritual practice we must cultivate ourselves and awaken others. This is what we must do as practitioners and is what the Buddha instructed. We should faithfully accept and practice this. The Six Perfections, whether we are monastic or lay practitioners, are teachings we can all apply. It is very convenient for lay practitioners to practice the Six Paramitas, and monastics have the fundamental duty of cultivating the virtues of the Six Paramitas. This was what the Buddha taught.
 
We must exercise both compassion and wisdom. Compassion means we cannot bear to let sentient beings suffer, so from the bottom of our hearts we naturally bring forth selfless great love. To manifest the potential of this love, we put the teachings into practice to serve others. This is compassion. In the Buddhist teachings, Buddhists often talk about “great loving-kindness and great compassion.” Indeed! What is great loving-kindness? It is “unconditional loving-kindness.” Even though they have no relation to us, we hope for all sentient beings in the world to enjoy good fortune and blessings. This is great loving-kindness.
 
It is like how parents hope that their children will be successful, that they will succeed and be free from worry in all that they do. This is what parents hope for. Bodhisattvas are like this toward sentient beings. They hope things go the way that people want and that they have peace and happiness. This is great loving-kindness. Although these sentient beings are not related to us at all, though they have no connection to us, nonetheless, when we see them happy, we are joyful and wish them blessings. This feeling is called unconditional loving-kindness. Creating happiness in sentient beings’ lives is also unconditional loving-kindness.
 
Next is “universal compassion.” Although the myriad sentient beings have given us to cause, though they are completely unconnected to us, their suffering is heartbreaking for us. “We feel others’ pain and suffering as our own.” This is known as universal compassion. Sentient beings are [to the Buddha] like children are to their parents.
 
Previously in the Lotus Sutra, there were the analogies of the burning house and of the poor son and so on. Both used the relationship between father and son as an analogy for the relationship between the Buddha and sentient beings. So, as we learn the Buddha’s teachings, we must learn to emulate the Buddha’s heart and likewise treat all sentient beings like our own family, like our own dearest relatives. This is how we emulate the Buddha’s state of mind.
 
So, “With the virtue of actualizing the Six Paramitas as the cause,” we must certainly be replete with compassion and wisdom. We must earnestly learn how to have universal compassion and treat sentient beings as our own dearest loved ones. We cannot bear to let them suffer, so we must apply our wisdom. When sentient beings suffer, we should find ways to apply our wisdom and help them. This is unconditional loving-kindness. Creating happiness for sentient beings and eliminating their various kinds of suffering requires being replete with compassion and wisdom and exercising both in parallel.
 
This is a method we use to engage in spiritual practice. As for “having perfected our causal practice,” what does perfected mean? It means the same thing, not lacking compassion or wisdom. Thus, it is called perfected.
 
For several days, I have been talking about great perfect mirror wisdom. Though we are engaging in spiritual practice and understand all the principles, if we lack a mind which can accommodate all sentient beings in the world and feel universal compassion for them, how will we be able to think from their perspective [to benefit them]? This requires compassion and wisdom; then, our spiritual practice can be perfected.
 
After a long time of spiritual practice, we have perfected our causal practice. The “causes” come from giving, and the “practice” is cultivating the causes of saving beings, cultivating these seeds. Life after life we practice this; this is called “causal practice.” Starting from forming aspirations and making vows, we continue on in this way. With the practices we engage in among the people, we prefect our compassion and wisdom. I often tell everyone that compassion means going among people and giving for the sake of sentient beings. Wisdom means going among people and experiencing how sentient beings’ afflictions and ignorance arise. “Afflictions are Bodhi.” How can afflictions be turned into Bodhi? Only by comprehending the source of the cause of afflictions can we teach sentient beings to transform afflictions into Bodhi. This is “perfecting our causal practice” of compassion and wisdom.
 
We must be mindful. Is it true we heard the Buddha-Dharma in the past? The answer should be yes. We have this karmic seed, the karmic conditions, such that, in this lifetime, we definitely have the causes and conditions to hear the Dharma. This lifetime is one of our many accumulated lives. We still have many future lives, so we need the causal practice of this life to continue on, until in our future lives, our causal practice is perfected, and our compassion and wisdom are complete. Thus, we must make good use of this opportunity.
 
“Our fruition is perfect, our practice fulfilled, and we will have all pure virtues. All those who behold us will attain great auspiciousness.” This is how spiritual practice should be. Journeying on our past causes, we carried on in this present life. In this present lifetime, we must seize the causes and conditions to continue to go among people and benefit others, to go among people and increase our wisdom-life. We go on like this for countless future lives until our fruition is perfect, our practice is fulfilled and we have all pure virtues. On one hand, we benefit others, on the others, in this place where the Five Destinies coexist, we train ourselves to eliminate ignorance and afflictions and persist in our will to practice. This path of ours is the Bodhi-path. Once we are headed in the right direction, we must move forward, step by step.
 
Then we have pure virtues, very simple and pure. We must correct afflictions, eliminate ignorance. It is because we have many affections that we must practice. We go among people to benefit others. There is so much turbidity in society, but among the turbidity, we can realize the truth and increase our wisdom-life. We use these causes and conditions to complete the spiritual training ground of our mind.
 
So, by eliminating afflictions and going among people to practice, we can achieve simple and pure [virtues]. Then those who see us will be joyful. Our virtues have accumulated lifetime after lifetime, and our ignorance is eliminated lifetime after lifetime. Thus, “We will have all pure virtues.” Naturally, people who see us will naturally give rise to joy. With this joy, the afflictions filling their minds will be put aside. Through our spiritual practice, other feel joy when they see us and abandon ignorance; all of this auspicious. This requires us to practice earnestly.
 
For instance, the Sutra of the Wise and Foolish also contains a story like this. In it, there was a prime minister, which was an important position. His family was very rich, but he was lacking something; he had no children or heirs. He heard people say that if he went to the Ganges River and prayed to the gods, he would certainly be bestowed with a son. Upon hearing this, he brought sumptuous offerings to the Ganges River and enlisted many people to help him. With a reverent heart, he prayed to the gods for an heir. This was what he said, “If you give me a son, I can make a golden image. With the seven treasures I can adorn your temple and make an image of you, if I do not get a son in this lifetime, I may take strong measures, and use the dirtiest, foulest things, to defile your temple and to defile your golden image. What I have said I will do, I will do.”
 
The spirit of the Ganges heard this and was afraid. A country’s minister carries out whatever he has said he will do. How would he give this man a son? The spirit of the Ganges quickly reported to a spirit in heaven, who said, “If he does not have an heir, there is nothing I can do!” “What can be done?” They reported the matter higher up. The king of heaven felt, “I, too, am powerless!” A report was then sent up to Sakra, the [ruler] of all heavenly beings. There happened to be one heavenly being who suddenly manifested the Five Forms of Decay. He was afraid. Lord Sakra said, “As your heavenly blessings have come to an end, why don’t you reincarnate into the prime minister’s family?”
 
This heavenly being felt, “I do not want to. Can’t I be born to an ordinary family? I want to become a monastic. Though heavenly beings’ lives are long and we have many comforts, there still always comes a day such as this, when the Five Forms of Decay appear. Then, we will fall again into the Six Realms. I would like to become a monastic and free myself from birth and death. I no longer desire heavenly blessings, and I dread the Six Realms and Three Evil Destinies. Why don’t you allow me to be born into an ordinary family so I can have the freedom to become a monastic?”
 
The heavenly sovereign said, “Now the prime minister needs a son, and he has been anxiously praying for a son. In order to fulfill his wish, you are to be born to this family. If you want to become a monastic, I will help you become one.”
 
Thus, they agreed that indeed, this heavenly being would be reincarnated into the minister’s family. Upon having a son, the minister was joyful. He asked a fortune teller to come and read the son’s fortune and give him a name. The fortune teller felt the child had a very blessed appearance and that he was no ordinary human. He asked, “How did you finally have a son?” The minister responded, “I went to the Ganges and asked the gods for a son.” So, the fortune teller gave the child the name “Gangadatta” (Ganga’s gift). The minister went to the Ganges with his prayer, and his wish was fulfilled, so the fortune teller named the son “Gangadatta.”
 
Time passed quickly, and the son was nearly 20 years old. At that time, he was eager to seek the Path. He wanted to lead a monastic life. “The Buddha is in this land expounding the Dharma. I delight in the Buddha-Dharma, and I have a strong desire to become a monastic.” He asked his parents, but not matter how he asked, he did not get what he wanted. His parents could not to bear to let him go. They hoped he could carry on the family’s work, but he eagerly sought to live a monastic life. When it came to leaving home, he thought, “I have not received my parents’ blessings and have no chance to become a monastic, I might as well end my life. If I can be reborn into an ordinary family, I can engage in practice to have a chance [to attain Buddhahood].”
 
He climbed up a tall mountain and jumped. However, he jumped right into some vegetation, into some thick bushes. Jumping where he did, he was completely unharmed. “Since jumping off such a tall mountain did not hurt me, I should jump into the water instead.” He went to a river and jumped in. But after the sank, he floated up again. He still was not dead. What could he do? He thought of a way “I will go and offend the king, hoping he sentences me to death. He knew that the king’s concubines were bathing. At the royal bath, there was a group of palace maids and concubines who were bathing. He crept into the area and took the clothes they had removed. He intentionally let someone see him. The guards reported him to King Ajatasatru. King Ajatasatru, upon seeing this, was outraged. He ordered his men to fire their arrows at him.
 
Surprisingly, though the arrows had been released, they turned and came back. One after another, the arrows were fired, but each one turned around. King Ajatasatru was terrified. He quickly called for the young man to come over. “Who are you? Are you a dragon god or a ghost?” He said, “My King, listen to what I have to say. If you want to know my identity, you have to grant my wish. If you can grant my wish, I will tell you who I am.”
 
King Ajatasatru said, “Very well, as long as you tell me who you are.” He said, “I am the prime minister’s son. I want to lead a monastic life, but my father does not agree. So, without my father’s permission, I cannot become a monastic. Because of this, I want to die and be reincarnated so in a future life. I can become a monastic. My King, my situation is just this simple.”
 
Upon hearing this, the king felt that becoming a monastic was such an easy thing, so he said, “Fine, I will fulfill your wish.” Because King Ajatasatru believed in the Buddha and had taken refuge with Him, he felt allowing someone to become a monastic was a great merit and virtue. He brought this young man before the Buddha. The Buddha joyfully let him become a monastic and dress as a bhiksu.
 
The Buddha then taught him the Dharma. Gangadatta opened his mind and understood and thus became a bhiksu. King Ajatasatru saw that Gangadatta now had the appearance of a bhiksu. He had heard the Buddha expound the Dharma, and his mind was opened. He must have his great causes and conditions.
 
Indeed, he had great causes and conditions. The Buddha then taught these causes and conditions. His causes and conditions were that [in the past] a young man was listening to a palace maiden singing while she danced. The young man could not control himself. As he stood outside listening to the singing, he loudly sang along with the melody. He stood outside loudly singing along. It sounded so beautiful Hearing him, the king was enraged and wanted him caught and put to death wanted him caught and put to death. Outside, a minister happened to be walking in He saw this young man being captured and asked the guard, “What crime did this young man commit?” “He was out here singing loudly, which made the king unhappy. He wants him put to death.”
 
The minister considered this, then said, “This crime does not warrant death. Wait a moment.” The minister went to the king and said, “This man did not do anything to deserve the death penalty. Your majesty, you should not, on this joyous occasion, have such anger in your heart that you would want to take someone’s life. As for this young man, why not let him go?”
 
The king heard the minister’s counsel and let him go. The young man knew the minister saved his life in order to repay his grace, the young man told him, “I am willing to stay at your side as a servant.” After several years of dedicated service, the minister said to him, “All I did was speak a few words on your behalf. For all these years, you have been deeply loyal in serving me is there nothing you would like to request?” He replied, “If I were to make a request… I have already seen what there is to the world. Because of enticing sights and sounds, people can lose their life. This was how I almost lost my life; I was listening to music and took joy in these enticing sights and sounds. I could not refrain from singing. That was how I almost lost my life. It was you who saved me, so my service has been in repayment. You asked whether there is something I wish. I wish to engage in spiritual practice.” The minister said, “Fine, I grant your wish and permit you to go engage in spiritual practice.”
 
He was very earnest and went into the forest and devoted himself to spiritual practice. After 10, 20 years had passed, truly his mind opened, and he understood. He attained the status of a Pratyekabuddha. He thoroughly understood the impermanence of the universe and of life He wanted to take this principle and share it with the minister. Upon seeing his achievements, the minister was quite pleased. He quickly made an offering, and after the offering, this Pratyekabuddha demonstrated his powers by levitating in mid-air. The minister realized, “Spiritual practice brings such freedom and ease. Truly, life is impermanent. Although I am a minister with power and fame, I have grown old. In life, birth, aging, illness and death are unavoidable. This is also great suffering. If I become lost in enticing sights and sounds, what will my future lives be like? Fine, I too am willing to engage in practice.”
 
The minister formed a vow. “If I engage in spiritual practice in the future, I hope in a future life I will be able to encounter the Buddha, become a monastic and attain the true principles. I hope to end samsara and reach Nirvana.” This was his vow.
 
The Buddha related this story up to this point and asked King Ajatasatru, “Did you know that Gangadatta was that minister? He saved a man’s life and, at the same time, enabled him to become a monastic. He also formed a great vow that in a future life he could live in the time of a Buddha and become a monastic. In order to end samsara, he vowed to attain Buddhahood. This was this man, Gangadatta, who is before you.”
 
That is how the story goes. So, we should know to actualize the Six Paramitas in all action. Though it might take a very long time, lifetime after lifetime, as long as we have the vow, we must put the Buddha-Dharma into practice. Then naturally, someday our vow will be fulfilled, and all will attain great auspiciousness. As Buddhist practitioners, we must have great faith.
 
The previous sutra passage says, “All of us attain positive benefits and congratulate each other with great joy. Sentient beings always suffer and are afflicted. Blind, in the dark, with no guiding teacher, we do not recognize the path to end suffering, nor do we know to seek liberation. In the long night, those in the evil realms increase in number, while those in the heaven realm have diminished.”
 
Heavenly beings will also manifest the Five Forms of Decay, so the sovereign of heaven let this heavenly being be reincarnated in the human realm. Truly, in the world, we are blind, in darkness, with great suffering and afflictions. If we do not thoroughly understand this, lifetime after lifetime we will be “blind, in the dark, with no guiding teacher.” “We do not recognize the path to end suffering.” We go on like this, not knowing to seek liberation. We are all in the long night, where those in the evil realms increase in number. If we fall into hell, being born into the world again is not easy, let alone being reborn into heaven! That is even more difficult! So, seeking liberation in the world is truly very difficult.
 
The next sutra passage continues like this, “From this darkness, they enter into darkness and will never hear the Buddha’s name. Today the Buddha has attained the supreme peaceful and flawless path. We and the heavenly beings are those who attain the greatest benefit, therefore we all prostrate and take refuge in the supremely honored one”
 
If sentient beings go for a long time without a guiding teacher or without the Dharma as a guide, they will always remain in ignorance, in darkness, and then enter even darker places. This is because we sentient beings endlessly create ignorance and afflictions, so they multiply and increase. Thus it says, “From this darkness, they enter into darkness.” In this way, we move further away from the Buddha. “[We] will never hear the Buddha’s name.” Now, we see the Buddha has already reached the highest state. “Today the Buddha has attained the supreme peaceful and flawless path.” We see the Buddha has already achieved this His myriad virtues are all perfect, and He has attained perfect enlightenment.
So, “we and the heavenly beings” means that as Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha sat for ten small kalpas, heavenly beings, humans and Dharma-protectors, all those heavenly beings, already saw this. The Buddha had already achieved this “[We] are those who attain the greatest benefit.”
 
Heavenly beings and humans [were lucky to have] a Buddha in the world and Dharma to listen to. This was the greatest benefit, so everyone was very happy. They then prostrated, the Buddha had succeeded, so heavenly beings and humans should prostrate themselves to pay their respects, an expression of praise and blessing for the Buddha’s perfect enlightenment. “From this darkness, they enter into darkness and will never hear the Buddha’s name.”
 
In the darkness, our consciousness is obscured, so we create a lot of ignorance. Our consciousness is already darkened, so “[we] create karma of darkness.” We create a lot afflictions; we create a lot of evil karma. Our consciousness has been obscured and lost, so we create a lot of evil karma. Thus, “From this state of confusion and darkness, they enter a state of confusion and darkness.” We are in a lost, confused and dark state. Then we go into a darker state where we become more deluded. This is why we sentient beings grow more ignorance lifetime after lifetime, because we always bring our karma and constantly reproduce it.
 
So, “From this state of confusion and darkness, [we] enter a state of confusion and darkness. We become even more lost and “will never be able to hear the Buddha’s name.” We do not hear the Buddha’s name.
 
From this darkness, they enter into darkness and will never hear the Buddha’s name: With a mind of darkness, they create karma of darkness and incur the suffering of darkness. From this state of confusion and darkness, they enter a state of confusion and darkness and will never be able to hear the Buddha’s name.
 
“From this darkness, they enter into darkness.” This is how we ordinary beings are. “We leave one life for the next, never deviating from our path.” So, it says, “From this darkness, they enter into darkness.” We leave one lifetime and are reborn; next life we still have not left the place where the Five Destinies coexist, this truly ignorant world.
 
“Some were about to encounter the Buddha, but were not able to see the Buddha in time. Although now everyone knows of Buddhism, “I can light incense and bow and pray, pray for fame and many other things.” They encounter the Buddha but they only know to light incense and bow, only know to ask for things. Truly, such people do not have the will to understand who the Buddha is. Why is there a Buddha in the world? They believe the Buddha does nothing more than give blessing to people. They do not know that the Buddha is the Great Enlightened One, the one who opens the Path and teaches the Path. They know none of this; they just know to pray for things. “Some already met the Buddha, yet had no desire to listen to the teachings. Though they meet the Buddha, some are not receptive to hearing the teachings.
 
For the sake of the one great cause, the Buddha came to teach sentient beings. If one sees the Buddha but does not want to accept the Buddha’s teaching and does not want to hear the Dharma, how is it different from not seeing the Buddha? “Some saw the Buddha, but did not recognize Him.” Through they see the Buddha, some do not recognize Him. This is how all kinds of opportunities are missed.
 
This is being confused. In the Buddha’s lifetime, there were many non-Buddhist teachings, like the Six Teachers. They were all confused about people. They were not only confused about the teachings, but also confused about people. They guide people into following blind methods of spiritual practice. These were also very painful.
 
Some were about to encounter the Buddha, but were not able to see the Buddha in time. Some already met the Buddha, yet had no desire to listen to the teachings. Some saw the Buddha, but did not recognize Him, like the disciples and followers of the Six [Non- Buddhist] Teachers. These teachers were confused about people, and with blinded practices, led others to follow.
 
“Today the Buddha has attained the supreme peaceful and flawless path.” These heavenly beings saw that the Buddha had attained Buddhahood. This world could thus become peaceful, and heavenly beings and humans could attain the Dharma expounded by the Buddha. So, “Today, Buddha, the World-Honored One, has attained Buddhahood, the supreme peaceful Nirvana, the flawless noble path. Naturally, this is because He could not bear to let sentient beings create deluded karma. The reason the Buddha attained Buddhahood was that He could not bear to let sentient beings create evil karma. Our minds are filled with ignorance and delusion.
 
So, the Buddha attained Buddhahood to transform sentient beings. He knew that sentient beings create delusions. Delusions are ignorance we create the karma of ignorance, and what we thus face is the suffering of samara’s oppression as we sink and drown in the realms. This is the consequence of the karma sentient beings create. Because this is the way we are, He practiced to attain Buddhahood. Awakening to the Dharma requires working with people. “Therefore He gave all kinds of teachings to eliminate unwholesome practices.”
 
He could not bear to let sentient beings create deluded karma and thus suffer the oppressive torment of samara, sinking and drowning in the evil realms. Therefore He gave all kinds of teachings to eliminate unwholesome practices and allow them to be in a good place. He enabled them to attain peace and joy, tranquility and wondrous permanence, and forever eliminate the worldly troubles; this is the peaceful, flawless path.
 
This lets us understand clearly that the Dharma is a path to follow; we cannot commit evil deeds. “We should refrain from all evil and do all that is good. He wanted to give sentient beings a chance to reflect on themselves, letting them turn around to see [the way back], to give sentient beings Dharma to follow, to give us a road to find. Thus when He attained Buddhahood, He enabled them to attain peace and joy, tranquility and wondrous permanence.” He told sentient beings that we all have Buddha-nature. We all have a safe, stable and happy place. He taught is how to engage in spiritual practice.
 
So, the chaos of the world’s affairs and the world’s ignorance can be completely eliminated. We can all gain mutual love and respect. This is heart of great loving-kindness. He hoped we can all live peaceful lives, free of all disasters. This was the Buddha’s goal.
 
Next, “We and the heavenly beings are those who attain the greatest benefit. We are the ones who are happiest. For a Buddha to attain complete enlightenment is, for heavenly beings and humans, the happiest event. “All of us, as well as all the other heavenly beings, have attained the supreme and extensive benefits. This means when a Buddha appears in the world, heavenly beings and humans benefit greatly, as they can walk this great, radiant path. So, “Therefore we all prostrate and take refuge in the supremely honored one.”
 
Because of this, all heavenly beings and humans were joyous and paid their respects with the utmost reverence. “Prostrate” means prostrate with one’s whole body. “Take refuge” means to turn to and rely on. We dedicate our bodies and minds and take refuge in the supreme World-Honored One. The Enlightened World-Honored One was respected throughout the world. After Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha had attained Buddhahood, all heavenly beings and humans rejoiced.
 
We must remember that a Buddha’s attainment is a rare event. He must actualize the Six Paramitas and constantly engage in spiritual practice. He must exercise both compassion and wisdom for many lifetimes until (His practice) is perfect and flawless, until His great perfect mirror wisdom manifests,
until His mind is pure and undefiled.
 
This is how our spiritual practice should be. How exactly do we make our minds pure and undefiled? This depends on our daily living, how we deal with people and matters, how we use the Dharma in our daily lives, and how we are able to influence others to simultaneously share in this Dharma-joy. In our lives, we can all be very happy. In whatever we are doing, we find the true principles and the Dharma, so we and enjoy our work. We are immersed in the stream of Dharma; this is the greatest happiness. I hope everyone will always be more mindful.
 

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20170110《靜思妙蓮華》因行圓滿萬德純淨 (第998集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)
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